As a part of my role I go out and assess potential residents that are looking to be admitted to the Home where I work. The usual process is that someone telephones or visits, whether it be a Social Worker, a family member, a Health Care Professional from Hospital or the perspective resident themselves. We have an assessment form for this stage we call a Resident Enquiry form, basic details are asked of the potential resident and contact details are noted as well as medical conditions, and a brief overall picture of the person. Once a visit has been arranged or if they happen to come unannounced which is recommended, I give them some information after they have had a look around the Home and asked any questions they may have. The information includes our Home brochure, our statement of purpose, our CSSIW report and Local Authority report and a newsletter.
It is extremely important to work in partnership with other agencies involved with the potential resident to be able to provide the right care needed and the right social environment and know their personal choices etc. It should enable a smooth cross over into the Care setting, with all their needs being met and staff are able to get an overview of the resident’s needs as well as their personality, hobbies, character etc.
Looking at this unit I have discovered several styles of assessment, the questioning model, which is something I often do when assessing a resident, as I personally feel it can be impersonal sat filling in a form in front of them, as if they have to pass a certain test to be allowed to come to the Home. I prefer to ask, listen, process the information, and then go and fill out the form after I have finished chatting to the resident. This method is however led by me as the service provider; I have to decide if our Home is able to meet their needs as I ask some of the questions that we have on our assessment form that we use.
I don’t particularly like the procedure model as it appears that the potential resident has to tick all the right boxes to get a place in our care Home. If unsuitable for whatever reason they may feel rejection, insignificant, upset and worried.
The exchange model sounds the best as it puts the person being assessed as the expert and I would like to put an assessment across this way, and ask things like how do you think we as a Home can help you? Etc. The resident should be the most important person in all decisions being made prior to coming into our care Home. They are the ones that are going to be affected, emotionally, physically, mentally, a disruption to their usual daily life, a huge significant change, giving up their own homes, with so many memories and treasures.
Our standard resident assessment form – prior to admission, is set out much like our enquiry form but in much more depth, the form is designed as a rough guide of questions to ask prior to assessment to ensure that the Home has the right facilities, environment to meet their needs. Not all of the form is filled in with the potential resident, some questions are asked of the Nursing Staff, family or social worker. I think that when assessing a resident it is important to gain their trust, get to know them and chat about other things not only what is on the form. I like to talk about the Home where I work; describing it, the staff, the Home owner, the dog, the food then let them ask me questions if they wish which they usually do.
I try and be as positive as I can about them coming into care, describing activities that take place, the fun we have at Christmas and birthdays, the productions the staff perform for the residents etc. The elderly often think of care homes as the end, defeated, giving up, sadness, etc, I like to help them see things differently if I can, that together we can help them continue to be happy, continue their way of lives as best as we can, that they will never be alone or afraid, that someone is always around if they need them, that they will make new friends etc. When assessing I believe I use a mix of the questioning and the exchange model.
Recently I was asked to show a couple around our Home, which I did of course. After looking around the Home I sat and chatted with them answering various questions and taking details off them as they were extremely keen for their relative to come to us as soon as possible. The potential resident was in hospital and initially the advice give to the family who has no Social services interaction thus far, was to go down that route, get a social worker involved to assess, to offer support with choice of a home, the financial procedures etc. The family were happy with this route as there was no immediate hurry for her to be admitted, she was currently in hospital recovering after a water infection and some dizziness. Two days later the family contacted the Home asking if someone could come and assess their Mum as soon as possible, because after telling their Mum they had visited us and how the Home was, she was very eager to come to us straight away and the Social services had told the family that it may be several weeks for them to come and see and start the process going.
The family were afraid the bed we had available might go, that the only involvement they needed from Social services would be to set up a care assessment and a contract of agreed care needed as the financial help would not be required as she would be privately funding herself. I chatted with my Manager who agreed that it was in this lady’s best interest to go and assess her as she wanted to leave hospital and come to us, so after contacting the ward in the hospital to let them know we would be coming to assess Mrs G, we both went to assess her in hospital the next day, which the family were thrilled about. I took the lead in her assessment and asked the nurses on the reception area if I could pleas come and assess Mrs. G and where I was from and my position, they then told us where to go to find her. Mrs G was absolutely lovely; she was really pleased to meet us and asked immediately when can I come to you. We chatted for a while, she said that we could ask her anything and she would tell us whatever we needed to know.
We talked about where we both lived, about our children, about old Aberdare, how things have changed. She told me she was not going home to her house as she was afraid of being alone and wanted company. We had a few giggles as we shared some funny stories about our families, then I asked her a few questions about her basic needs and abilities. I didn’t write anything down whilst I was chatting with her as I felt it would be rude, I asked her what we could do for her, what she likes to do, what interests she has etc. She was really open about everything and was so pleased to know she could get out of hospital and come to us. She asked me what happens next, when she could come.
I said I was going to have a chat with the nurses first, then the home owner then make arrangements for an admission date if she was happy with that, she of course was. I went to find a nurse that had been looking after Mrs G, I asked how she was as a patient in the hospital, and she said she was a lovely lady, no problem whatsoever, independent though sometimes forgetful, does everything herself, sleeps well, but is at risk of falling. The nursing staff had given Mrs G a zimmer whilst in hospital, and the impression I was give was that they weren’t very keen on their patients moving around in case they fall. I thanked the nurse for her assistance and told her I would be in touch once an admission date had been arranged.
I telephoned the Home Owner to ask when it would be convenient for Mrs G to be admitted, if there were any jobs he needed to do in the empty bedroom, he said that she could come whenever she was ready. Mrs G and her family were of course thrilled with this news and an admission date was arranged and the ward staff informed. Two days later Mrs G was admitted to the Home and is still very happy and settled with us. Her early assessment enabled her to come to us within a few days, she was unhappy in hospital in a bay on her own, she knew she couldn’t manage at home and didn’t want to anymore and wanted to get a bed with us, as she was familiar with our Home, she had actually visited some friends of hers that lived in the Home for a while, several years previously.
After her admission is when the real paperwork assessments and care plans, risk assessments take place, the personal history forms, care profiles, likes dislikes etc all have to be completed. This was all done with Mrs G present and asking her opinion on what was put in place for her. You will see by her care plans that I recommended she be weighed regularly as she was really small, 5 stone on admission and not a great eater, I later recommended if things deteriorated she be referred to a dietician, which she has since being admitted.
Her daughter and she agreed she no longer needed a zimmer frame; she now walks without one and is perfectly safe and able to do so. She does forget to wash and dress, she does like to stay in her room some days, she might forget to wear underwear, she likes to walk up and down the stairs unaided and go back and fore to her room and the garden whenever she likes, which is all ok, it is all accounted for in her care plans and risk assessments and she is happy and settled and her family are happy too.